Smooth ride, powerful performance and premium comfort.

Boat Test #1489

Since 1913, when Paul Larson started designing boats, Larson has brought many different models to market and gained valuable knowledge into what makes a great family boat. 

Now 104 years later, Larson is set to launch the largest model in its LXH sport boat lineup.  According to Larson president Rob Parmentier, “The LXH 230 IO is a true family boat, whether you’re a water sports enthusiast or a lounger, you’ll fall in love with the 230 IO’s smooth ride, powerful performance and premium comfort.” 

If you’re a lounger, you’ll be satisfied with the standard power package, featuring Mercury’s 4.5-liter MerCruiser engine in either 200hp and 250hp variations, with your choice of a single-propeller Alpha One drive, or the popular Bravo Three unit with its counter-rotating props.

The 200 HP Alpha One combo will keep the cost of entry lower, but considering this is a large, deep 23-foot bowrider designed for a full family, the 250 HP engine spinning the counter-rotating propellers would be the lowest point of entry I would recommend. 

Regardless, you’re getting a fantastic power package with the award winning MerCruiser 4.5L engine. It’s a great choice for a boat this size. It doesn’t pack quite the punch of the much larger 6.2L, but the design, weight savings and fuel efficiency should be worth the tradeoff for most boaters. The 4.5L is built up from an engine block designed solely for marine applications (whereas most other models begin with an automotive block and modify it for marine duty) so there are benefits as far as maintenance and longevity as well.

But if you’re a water sports enthusiast, or just want to pack the most punch, you’ll want to option your LXH 230 IO with the 300HP MerCruiser 6.2L Bravo Three. Check the boxes for the Xtreme wakeboard tower and Rockford Fosgate sound system and you’ll have yourself a very capable towboat.

The overall design of this 24-foot bowrider is spacious. The use of a pickle fork bow allows the wide beam to carry far forward, creating a roomy bow seating area. The bow is also quite deep, a trend we’re seeing become more prevalent in this segment. The squared off bow also features a folding swim ladder for easy boarding as far as possible from the engine outdrive. 

The bow seating area has a pair of forward-facing loungers, complete with armrests. There are stainless steel cup holders and plenty of storage for gear. An optional filler cushion creates a large sun pad. 

Moving aft, through the wraparound windscreen, and over the flush hatch for the in-floor storage, we find a pair of high backed helm chairs with flip-up bolsters. Both captain and passenger are treated to full-featured consoles. The helm is outfitted with a full array of standard gauges and a 3-spoke tilt steering wheel.

The rest of the cockpit is very spacious, due to the lack of wrap-around seating. Larson chose to layout this model with a single aft bench that spans the full beam of the boat, save for a walkthrough to the transom and its large bolt-on swim platform. There’s a large sun pad on top of the engine hatch. A common feature on an I/O-powered bowrider, but Larson has done a great job of offering a spacious sunbathing area without infringing on the cockpit space.                          

By Steve Sansford